During the health care debate, both sides to some extent played up favorable political news for their side. But the degree to which conservatives cherry-picked polls to convince themselves the public overwhelmingly opposed health care reform, reinforced bvy Republican politicians asserting the same thing over and over again, was pretty striking. Here's Jonah Goldberg today:
When you look at Obama’s troubles, it’s kind of shocking how he’s managed to maneuver the party to the 30 percent position (or allowed it to drift that way) on so many issues. Health care isn’t quite at 70-30, but it’s close. The Ground Zero mosque is a 70-30 issue. So is the Arizona immigration bill.
On the mosque issue and immigration, Goldberg is right -- the public overwhelmingly sides with the conservative position. (Of course, Obama has said nothing about the mosque issue, so this isn't a good example of his larger point.) On immigration, Obama has taken a strong side against Arizona despite public opposition, because Latinos are a crucial part of his base and they have intense views on the subject. (Also, presumably, because Obama agrees with them in principle.) But on health care, it's not anywhere close to 70-30 and it never has been:
As you can see, it's a 46-43 issue. At it's peak, the gap between opponents and supports was, briefly, about 15 percentage points, and it's fallen since. I continue to be amazed at the conservative echo-chamber effect on this.